Impermeable

John Ashbery
John Ashbery, Samos, collage, 2010. © Estate of John Ashbery. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.
John Ashbery, Samos, collage, 2010. © Estate of John Ashbery. Courtesy Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York.

Finally, alone.
I was asked, are you sure?
Then the spotlight took over, mended
degenerate fences, fixed frost.

Remember, keep things brash,
unprogrammed. Start the dormition
theory an inch above my head.

We’ll never have to respond.
Renewal costs said, in a statement:
You don’t need to survive.
Just existing would be enough.

Put his legs under it. Put
pants back on, towel and visitor.
Ladle thy grief in Japanese pinstripes.

Hopefully, northern nuances will be spared
this time around. A few of us sitting around
Rick and Amy’s, were up half the night
examining selvage, or salvage.

John Ashbery (1927–2017) was a poet whose many collections of poetry include Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, which won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Originally published:
September 20, 2021

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